Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

AOL Layoff Package: You Stay, You Pay


BoomTown has learned that AOL is offering those who “volunteer” to leave the company now a departure package that ranges from three to nine months of pay, compared to one to four months for employees laid off in the first quarter of next year.

It’s a depressing rock-and-a-hard-place choice.

An AOL spokesperson confirmed the offer, which is part of a massive layoff of 2,500 of its 6,000-person workforce.

Earlier today, AOL said it would be letting go a big chunk of its staff, a third of its payroll, in a regulatory filing.

As reported by MediaMemo’s Peter Kafka:

The voluntary layoff program begins Dec. 4, a few days before the company spins off from Time Warner (TWX). If AOL doesn’t get enough volunteers, it will ax people on its own.

This is lousy news for employees, who are faced with a “jump now or wait to be pushed” decision, but it is designed to cheer investors: AOL says the cuts will drop its annual operating expenses by $300 million. Through the first nine months of this year, AOL’s operating expenses ran around $1.8 billion.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald